Publication Date

Fall 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Chemical and Materials Engineering


Melanie McNeil


Porous tagless SPR biosensors, Templated Silica Nanoparticles

Subject Areas

Chemical Engineering


This work covers both two dimensional (2D) and three dimensional (3D) silica-based nanostructures for use in biomedical sensing applications. The first section of this study discusses the formation of 2D nanostructured surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-based biosensor substrates. The surface of these biosensors was nanostructured by adding sacrificial star polymers or block copolymers to a silicate precursor solution. Subsequent vitrification resulted in two distinct morphological patterns: random and ordered porosity. Amino groups on the surface of the biosensors enabled the installation of analyte receptors and antifouling agents such as oligo (ethylene oxide).

The second section discusses the development of 3D core-shell silica nanoparticles (SNPs). For this work, star polymers were generated to provide hydrophobic interiors capable of sequestering large hydrophobic porphyrinoid dyes and hydrophilic exteriors capable of templating the growth of silica shells. The diameter of the SNPs (25-100 nm) varied depending on reaction time, template size, and reagent concentration. The shell thickness was also controlled in order to either release or retain the hydrophobic dyes. The SNPs were surface-functionalized with biocompatible "stealth" materials such as poly (ethylene oxide) to generate non-toxic, water-soluble nanoparticles for the in vivo delivery of various hydrophobic imaging and therapeutic materials.


Winner of the SJSU Outstanding Thesis Award.